Westjet is Canada’s “second” airline. It started as an all economy airline, slowly added plus seats (a kind of premium economy; or depending how you look at it, a European business class with the middle seat blocked) and now has a full lay flat business class product on their new 787 Dreamliner. I flew the business class for the first time on a recent flight from Calgary > Gatwick and then Gatwick > Toronto. On both flights I was in the first row – seat 1.
The cabin is nice and new and has a modern fresh feel:
My first impression of the seat was positive. I liked the design and colors.
Here is a closer look at the seat.
As with many business class seats like this, I could not make use of the ottoman unless in a more reclined position. Also similar to other seats like this, when in the lay flat position, the foot well angles to a point which restricts foot movement when sleeping.
Lighting was good but one overhead light was out over my seat. There is also lots of storage available.
Service starts with some truffle popcorn and a drink. The popcorn was delicious. On the outbound flight I was not offered a refill but was on the inbound flight.
I think where the biggest difference between Westjet and Air Canada business class is in the meal service. Westjet was impressive in this regard. First, they clearly put a lot of thought into the design of the cutlery and dishes. Also, everything is served without a tray which makes it more like a restaurant. The linens are super thick and obviously of high quality.
I thought that the bread service was good, offering three different types in your own mini bread basket. Here was the outbound menu (the dark lighting is due to one light being out as mentioned above).
The menu offered an interesting array of different ethnic dishes. I started with the shrimp gochujang (Korean). It was not a bad dish.
For the main I had the Alberta Short rib. Other reviews had rated this highly, but considering the flight left from Alberta, I was disappointed in this dish. I felt it was too dry.
The cheese course was surprisingly good.
I skipped dessert. There was also a snack area behind premium economy where you could go anytime after meal service to get a variety of snacks and drinks. The service was not consistent though as I did not find this area available on the inbound flight.
I was fairly impressed with the breakfast:
On the in bound flight, again a mixture of different cuisines. Starting with a Thai soup which I found to be lacking in flavor.
For main, cod which was good. The fish was still moist and the flavors were good. Its not easy to serve fish well on a plane and I would say they did a good job.
…cheese after dinner:
Overall, I was happy to see Westjet evolve from a “budget” oriented airline to offering a business class product. I think they will be a solid alternative to Air Canada on certain routes. One thing that I think would help is if they were part of an alliance. Also, flying from Gatwick, we were able to use some sort of ultra premium lounge. It had restaurant style table food service where someone comes to take your order. The food was good and the lounge was not crowded as lounges tend to be these days.